a16z Leads Seed Round For Santa Monica Film Distribution Startup Filmhub

Molly Wright

Molly Wright is an intern for dot.LA. She previously edited the London School of Economics' student newspaper in the United Kingdom, interned for The Hollywood Reporter and was the blogging editor for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

a16z Leads Seed Round For Santa Monica Film Distribution Startup Filmhub
Image from Shutterstock

Filmhub—a Santa Monica-based company cutting out Hollywood’s middle-man to allow filmmakers to distribute their content straight to streaming services—has raised $6.8 million in seed funding led by Silicon Valley venture giant Andreesen Horowitz.

The round included participation from investors including 8VC, FundersClub, Eleven Prime, Rupa Health CEO Viswanathan, Candid CEO Nick Greenfield and Codecov CEO Jerrod Engelberg, TechCrunch reported.


Filmhub provides filmmakers with a way to distribute their work directly to big-name streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV without relinquishing their rights. The startup was co-founded in 2016 by Klaus Badelt, a composer and producer who has written scores for films such as “Gladiator,” “The Thin Red Line” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.” Filmhub co-founder and CEO Alan d’Escragnolle told Deadline Hollywood that Filmhub’s goal is to empower filmmakers through “ownership and monetization opportunities”.

Should Filmhub continue to grow in reach and viability, it could mark a major shift away from the traditional studio model, where filmmakers are often forced to surrender the rights to their work. Filmhub aims to solve this by offering filmmakers a no-frills, 80/20 revenue split with no upfront payment. The startup’s model also speaks to the growing power of streaming services, with viewers increasingly ditching their cable boxes in favor of the 200-plus streaming platforms available in the U.S. as of last year.

Filmhub is also finding synergies with like-minded startups in its hometown. It recently partnered with Struum, a Los Angeles-based platform that has been dubbed “ClassPass for streaming” and compiles content created by smaller video streaming services under its own subscription.

mollywright@dot.la

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The Impact of Authentic Storytelling. LA Latino/a Founders and Funders Tell All

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

The Impact of Authentic Storytelling. LA Latino/a Founders and Funders Tell All
Decerry Donato

As one of the most diverse cities in the world, Los Angeles is home to almost 5 million people who identify as Hispanic or Latinx. Yet, many feel they still lack representation in the city’s tech space.

“I can safely say that last year’s LA tech week hosted all of the events on the west side, and very few were focused on telling Latino and Latina entrepreneurial stories,” said Valeria Martinez, investor at VamosVentures. “We wanted to change that this year.”

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LA Tech Week Day 3: Social Highlights
Evan Xie

L.A. Tech Week has brought venture capitalists, founders and entrepreneurs from around the world to the California coast. With so many tech nerds in one place, it's easy to laugh, joke and reminisce about the future of tech in SoCal.

Here's what people are saying about day three of L.A. Tech Week on social:

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LA Tech Week: Female Founders Provide Insights Into Their Startup Journeys

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech Week: Female Founders Provide Insights Into Their Startup Journeys
Decerry Donato

Women remain a minority among startup founders. According to Pitchbook, even though women-led startups in the United States received a record $20.8 billion in funding during the first half of 2022, U.S. companies with one or more female founders received less than 20% of total venture funding in 2022. U.S. companies solely led by female founders received less than 2% of the total funding.

The panel, titled Female Founders: Planning, Pivoting, Profiting, was moderated by NYU law professor Shivani Honwad and featured Anjali Kundra, co-founder of bar inventory software Partender; Montré Moore, co-founder of the Black-owned beauty startup AMP Beauty LA; Mia Pokriefka, co-founder and CEO of the interactive social media tool Huxly; and Sunny Wu, founder and CEO of fashion company LE ORA.

The panelists shared their advice and insights on starting and growing a business as a woman. They all acknowledged feeling pressure to not appear weak among peers, especially as a female founder. But this added weight only causes more stress that may lead to burnout.

“The mental health aspect of being a founder should not be overshadowed,” said Kundra, who realized this during the early stages of building her company with her brother..

Growing up in Silicon Valley, Kundra was surrounded by the startup culture where, “everyone is crushing it!” But she said that no one really opened up about the challenges of starting your own company. .

“Once you grow up as a founder in that environment, it's pretty toxic,” Kundra said. “I felt like I really wanted to be open and be able to go to our investors and tell them about challenges because businesses go up and down, markets go up and down and no company is perfect.”

Honwad, who advocates for women’s rights, emphasized the value of aligning yourself with people with similar values in the tech ecosystem. “[Those people] can make your life better not just from an investment and money standpoint, but also a personal standpoint, because life happens,” she said.

Moore, who unexpectedly lost one of her co-founders at AMP Beauty, said that entrepreneurs “really have to learn how to adapt to [their] circumstances.”

“She was young, healthy, vibrant and we've been sorority sisters and friends over the past decade,” she said about her co-founder Phyllicia Phillips, who passed away in February. “So it was just one of those moments where you have to take a pause.”

Moore said this experience forced her to ask for help, which many founders hesitate to do. She encouraged the audience to try and share their issues out loud with their teams because there are always people who will offer help. When Moore shared her concerns with her investors, they jumped in to support her in ways she didn’t think was possible.

Kundra said that while it is important to have a support group and listen to mentors, it is very important for entrepreneurs to follow their own thinking and pick and choose what they want to implement within their strategy. “At the end of the day, you really have to own your own decisions,” she said.

Kundra also said that while it is easy to turn to your colleagues and competitors and do what they are doing, you shouldn’t always follow them because every business is different.

“When I was in the heat of it, I kind of became [a part of] this echo chamber and that was really challenging for us,” Kundra added, “but we were able to move beyond it and figure out what worked for us [as a company] and we're still on a journey. You're always going to be figuring it out, so just know you're not alone.”

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